The Isle of Man offers a mix of beautiful quiet villages, and rugged countryside and coastline. It’s perfect for a whole range of holidays, from a family trip or a quiet getaway, to something more active and outdoorsy. There are quite a few ferry crossings to the Isle of Man from England and also from Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Crossing
Frequency
Journey Time
Operator
 
Belfast to Douglas3 per week2.45 hoursSteam Packet CoSteam Packet Co
Birkenhead to Douglas2 per week4.15 hoursSteam Packet CoSteam Packet Co
Heysham to Douglas2 per day3.45 hoursSteam Packet CoSteam Packet Co
Liverpool to Douglas2 per day2.45 hoursSteam Packet CoSteam Packet Co

Ferry crossing times aren’t long – between 2 hours 45 minutes and 4 hours 15 minutes, depending on the route you choose. This means you won’t feel exhausted by making the journey. And there’s plenty of choice, should you prefer the faster crossings with the catamaran ferry from Liverpool, or the more leisurely crossing from Heysham or Birkenhead. The slower crossings are with traditional ferries, and so are the main option for anyone traveling in a larger vehicle.

All the ferry crossings are operated by The Isle of Man Steam Packet Co, which is an attraction in itself, since it is considered to be the oldest continuously operating passenger ferry company in the world. You can just tell from the name that there’s lots of history here. The Steam Packet Co originally began operating way back in 1830, and is getting on for around 200 years old. These days they have a very modern fleet of ships, especially the super fast Manannan, which operates on the Liverpool to Douglas route. So don’t worry, despite the name, the boats aren’t steam powered these days.

Why take the car?

Obviously the Isle of Man is an island, and not the largest island you will ever come across. so you might be wondering if it’s worth actually taking the car. Why not fly over instead? Well, although it might be small, the Isle of Man has a lot to offer, and by taking the car, you will be sure to cover more ground and explore more of this wonderful island. Plus the driving experience, without speed limits on many roads, can be very liberating – just ask the TT racers!

One popular tour option these days is to use the Isle of Man as a stop on your journey across the Irish Sea. You can spend a few days exploring, then hop on to a ferry to either Dublin or Belfast, then continue your driving tour in Ireland.

About Douglas

Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man, and is a beautiful seaside resort that was popular in the Victorian era. The buildings that stand there today are mostly Victorian architecture, giving the city a picturesque feel, particularly along the city promenade. Here you’ll see trams pulled along by horses, and steam trains pulling out of each end of the promenade. Being the capital, it’s also a hub of different forms of entertainment, with a great many bars, restaurants, and cafes to choose from.